Tag: Faith

Take a Flyer on Faith

It goes against everything I ever believed

But I am so inconsolably bereaved

By the death of my wife so suddenly taken

My sole soulmate by “merciful God” forsaken

That I am prepared to suspend disbelief

To free myself from this insufferable grief

And do whatever I need to get to God

And if faith is to be my connecting rod

I will embrace it for whatever it’s worth

It’s bound to be better than this hell on earth.

Work in progress on the road to God

Since the death of my wife, I spend my nights drinking gin and watching old movies. In other words, I live in a fantasy world of make-believe and mayhem, depending on the movie.

It’s preferable to the world of reality and the endless grief of living without my life’s companion.

There’s another fantasy world out there — way out there — revolving around the uncorroborated hope that when we die, or sometime thereafter, loved ones and soulmates and husbands and wives will be reunited in a realm or sphere or dimension or phenomenon or heaven or whatever, hidden somewhere in the space-time continuum of the wondrous and unimaginably miraculous universe.

All of which was sheer nonsense I used to think, before I received a totally unexpected phone call last month from a long lost friend from the 1980s when my wife and I lived in Miami Beach.

The friend who called from out of the past — her name is Renata (I love that name) — believes that my “uncorroborated hope” is reality and that it will happen, if one believes, and even, I suppose, if one doesn’t believe.

As far as Renata is concerned, I am a work in progress. All I know is, I’m feeling a whole lot less suicidal than I did before she called.

And here’s the kicker, as an old reporter like me would say, the full name of the person who called from out of the blue at my time of suicidal depression, is Renata de Dios.

If you don’t know Spanish, look it up. And while you’re about it, look up: Dios se mueve de maneras misteriosas.

God, Sue and Me — the Big Three


Robyn Elliott, who my wife Susan and I used to hang out with during our time in Miami Beach in the 1980s, wrote the following story in response to two of my posts.

The first post was an irreverent satire about me being on a phone call with God who gets angry when I say something he doesn’t like and hangs up on me

The second post was about a 70-minute phone conversation Robyn and I had after she contacted me out of the blue upon hearing, belatedly, that Susan had died.

Robyn is a woman of deep faith and she tried to tell old pagan me to try and find the faith to believe in God, that when the time comes I would be with Susan in Heaven.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Bill posted his blog on line for the next day, closed his laptop and headed to bed. It was the first time since the death of his wife Susan that he felt some sort of closeness to her. As he had written in his blog, he got “his Susan back” during that 70-minute phone conversation.

Tonight Bill was anxious to drift off to sleep so he could be with Susan in his dreams. He didn’t bother to wash the empty gin glass or put away the gin bottle which was on the bedside table.

He checked the time. It was 3 a.m.  He closed his eyes and sank into a deep sleep.

Ring, ring, ring… three quick, high-pitched rings came from his cell phone on the bedside table. He heard them vaguely through his sleep and thought he was dreaming, so he ignored the ringing. 

Three minutes passed, and again, three quick, high-pitched rings.  Bill looked at the clock — 3:30 a.m. 

Who the hell would be calling me at this hour? Bill muttered.  There was no one Bill wanted to talk to, and there was nothing that was going to keep him from being with Susan in his dreams, so again he ignored the rings. 

Another three minutes went by, and another three rings. It was 3:33 a.m. Bill was wide awake now and ready to give the caller hell for waking him up.

He grabbed the phone. “Hello? Who is this?”

“Hello, Bill, it’s me, God,” said a voice on the other end.

“What? God who?”

“You know, God. I wanted to get back to you after reading your blog where you said I hung up on you.”

Bill sat up in bed, wondering what the hell was going on. He decided to play along. “What do you want?” he asked.

“First, I want to apologize for the ‘hang up’ the other night. It was not intentional. Heaven had a contract with Sprint and, unfortunately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of dropped calls, not to mention missed calls. As you might imagine, my customer service rating has taken quite a hit. The reviews on Google are killing me. So, Heaven has entered into a new contract with Verizon Wireless after getting their rep to swear on a holy stack of bibles that everyone will be able to hear me loud and clear, all the time, anytime from anywhere.

“Secondly, I want to let you know that the day you got seventy minutes with “your Susan” was the day she finally passed through the gates of Heaven.”

“Wait a minute,” said Bill. “What do you mean that she finally passed through the gates of heaven? She died over nine months ago. I thought that her faith would get her right into heaven. No waiting!”

“Relax, Bill. It was her choice to wait to be with me. I never wanted Susan to suffer, but there were things she needed to know and hear before she would ‘let go.’ She wanted more time with you.”

“With me? Why would she choose me over you?”

“She wanted to give you more time to get to know me, to believe in me, and to have faith. She wanted you to live the rest of your life to its fullest — through me. She wanted to make sure you would make it to heaven. 

“So, every day I was there with her, holding her hand and loving her. While I was with her, I watched how you cared for her and loved her. I hoped to myself that you would reach out to me for help. I even sent the Holy Spirit to show you the way, but you didn’t hear our call. Your stubbornness blocked us.

“When Susan was on life support and you were sitting by her bedside telling her how much you loved her, I was there, too. I thought for sure you would pray to me, ask me to help you, but you were too emotional. I fully understood. 

“After you made your peace with Susan, she knew it was time for her to ‘let go’. She waited for you to leave the room. She didn’t want you to watch her go. She knew it would be easier on you if she just slipped away, and when she did, I took her in my arms and gave her rest until she could be sure that one day she would meet you again — in Heaven. 

“Susan received that final reassurance when you mentioned in your blog that your mind is now open to God. She gave me the ‘all clear sign’ to open the gates of Heaven so she could make her final journey. 

“Once she settled in, I was able to reconnect your spirits. That’s how you got to spend seventy minutes with her in that phone conversation with friend from your Miami Beach days.”

Bill had been listening intently. “What can I say? I’m assuming you will forgive me for my lack of faith. I sure don’t want to wind up in hell, away from Susan.”

There was a click-click on the line and God said: “Sorry, Bill, I’m getting another call. It’s the Pope. I’ll have to get back to you. In the meantime, read my book.”

“What Book?” Bill asked. “Can I get it on Amazon?”

The phone clicked and the call ended. Bill couldn’t believe it. God had hung up on him again!

Bill pulled the covers over his head and lay there until he fell back into sleep.

When he woke up six hours later he remembered his conversation with God. Was it all a dream — the conversation, his new-found faith? None of it was real? He blamed the gin for screwing with his mind. 

He stayed in bed. What was the point in getting up and doing anything today. He was back to square one — hopelessly depressed over the loss of Susan and doubting the existence of God. 

He opened the drawer of the bedside table to look at a photograph taken at their wedding. When he picked up the photo, he was amazed to see that it was resting on top of an old Bible. Susan’s Bible. The Bible had always been in the drawer on Susan’s side of the bed. Suddenly it was on his side.

Bill had never looked at it before. He took the Bible out of the drawer and opened it. It opened to Jeremiah 29:12-13 — “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Bill was moved. Suddenly, he could feel Susan’s presence in the room. He closed his eyes, and for the first time in his life, prayed with an earnest heart: God, can you hear me?

Immediately, the same voice Bill had heard on his phone when he was dreaming was now inside his head. The voice answered: Yes, I can hear you. I have always been able to hear you. It was you who could not hear me. Just open my Book. My Words are written on the pages, so you can hear me now… and forever.

In memory of Bill’s soulmate, and my friend, Susan Brown Michelmore. — Robyn Elliott.

Today, Susan came back.

The past came rushing back today.

For the past nine months, since the death of my wife, I have been stumbling around the empty rooms of my house, usually drunk, babbling my mantra: I want my Susan back.

Today I received a phone call from one of my wife’s friends from back in our Miami Beach days 30 years ago. For thirty years I hadn’t heard from her. I had thought about her, and my wife and I had talked about her from time to time, but she seemed to be, as many old friendships, lost in the past.

We talked for an hour and 10 minutes — 70 minutes, each minute for a year of Susan’s 70 years. I do like the symmetry of numbers. 

We talked about the three of us together in Susan’s high-rise apartment on Collins Avenue, getting drunk and stoned with me filming high-as-kite moments on my camcorder (do camcorders still exist?). 

Susan’s friend said I liked transforming things — like renaming Susan’s cat to a name I thought more appropriate, turning the spare bedroom into a study for myself that our friend described as “interesting and masculine.”

At that point in the conversation I said I often worry about things like that, that I was too high- and heavy-handed and wanted to run Susan’s life. Feelings of guilt about many chapters of life together are known to haunt the bereaved.

You could be that way, said our friend, but don’t worry about it. Susan loved you. The times you were away — [visiting my mother in Australia and my son in Canada and generally going walkabout] — all she talked about was you. We’d be out at a bar  and she would say, I have to get back to the apartment, Bill is calling from Australia tonight.

I did not know that, I said, in fact I never knew how she really felt about me — Susan, street-wise gal from Detroit, not given to displays of emotion.

Her friend, like Susan, is a person of faith, which I pray to be, but without success. I told her I miss Susan every waking moment of my life, because she brought stability to my vagabond ways, she was my strength, and, when my son died, my savior. I do not exaggerate when I say she saved my life.

Susan knows all that, our friend said, and her spirit is now your stability and strength. If you could believe that and stay firm, you will be together again.

As I noted, for the past nine months I have been going around the house saying over and over, I want my Susan back.

For an hour and 10 minutes today, I got part of her back. Thank you, Renata.